My Beautiful Struggle + story

several successes of a Saturday

In terms of the 940 Saturdays we're alotted, today ranks a high success rate. Not just because we had some epic adventure to a new place or activity, but because it was glorious to just be normal again. After several consecutive weekends of being gone for this and that, it was settling to be home.

We made a trip downtown for the local Strawberry Festival. It's kind of a big deal. We tasted on the notorious doughnuts, tried some strawberry salsa (I recommend) and ate a bite from local vendors, wrapping up with a strawberry pizza.

Come noon o'clock we took a nap. Every single one of us. And not just a quick 10-minute power nap; I woke up with drool on the pillow, a sure sign of success.

I started preparations for an attempt to recreate a dish I had at the Greek restaurant in Findlay (I can't recall the name. It's downtown. The only one. Go there. Delicious.) while JJ put together Miss M's new-to-her big girl bed and we did some musical cribs so that Baby C can't crawl out of hers (I know. Parents of the year right here).

After dinner our credit card saw Meijer for the third time in 3 days as I wasn't made aware that dog food should be on the list. So Miss M and I made the bed and sorted clothes for the attic (someday I'll do a photo gallery of our attic storage and the tubs upon tubs of clothing. It's sad, really). We jammied up, watched a brief stint of Puss in Boots (but not the funny one) and off to bed.

Successful day.

But not nearly as successful as my "greek nachos". This dish was originally called something like "Hal's special" at the Findlay place (sorry, kind sir, for completely forgetting your name. But your special sure is special). And because My Pal Hal (or whatever his name might be) didn't provide a recipe, I retained rights to name it what I'd like: Greek Nachos.

Here we go, my first ever recipe post. WITH PICTURES. I told you, uber-successful day. Don't get too impressed. You won't see my whisk - only the final result. Which may or may not be an open can in at least one example.

First, the tzatziki sauce. If you ask me, the star of the dish. I used a f recipe and selected based upon the number of cucumbers required. (I didn't have fresh dill but saw on another recipe that 1/4 tsp dried was used and I thought it came out about right). I even followed the steps to "salt" the cuke - it was a no-shortcuts kind of day. I let it chill for several hours. Creamy and refreshing.

Next, the chicken. I went with a basic souvlaki recipe, knownst only to me thanks to my days at the Pita Pit. By "days at the Pita Pit" I mean, every Friday in college when I would treat myself to a souvlaki (complete with tzatziki sauce) before PGIF. Confession: I chose souvlaki on those Fridays because it was a quarter cheaper than the other kind of chicken.

This time I went with a Taste of Home recipe. Why? I have no idea. But it worked. And because the tzatziki is already in the fridge with a recipe requiring only one cucumber, you only need to pay attention to the first 5 ingredients and the first step. I used chicken breast that were "cut thin" from Meijer because they were the ones 20% off and I didn't have time to run to the meat shop. But the thin cutting turned out to be a good thing.

When I returned to the kitchen to actually put the meal together, I started with the potatoes. The potatoes are actually the genius of the dish. You pile high the toppings on potatoes. You know what potatoes are? GRAIN FREE. Winner winner... So I simply cut them thin and put them on a cookie sheet with olive oil and baked them at 400 until they browned and crisped up. HINT: parchment paper. It solves every sticky-oven problem you'll ever have, including when potatoes stick to the pan, no matter how much oil you soak them in. I only had enough for one pan with parchment paper, so I considered it an experience. Parchment won. In any case, the tates turned out beautiful. JJ's only suggestion: 4 potatoes aren't quite enough for our crew.

Now the busy work. Get the chicken out of the fridge and toss everything (including marinate) in a large frying pan. I use stainless steal and this type of sauteeing is one place I don't go to my cast iron. Admission: the reason I'm sharing this recipe lies in my chicken success this evening. Previous to this, my "sauteed" chicken turned out white and bland. Blah. I couldn't figure out how the professionals got it browned and not gross textured.

So after the juices ran clear, I poured out all the liquid and cranked the heat. OK, it was at "7", but that's high for this girl. I fiiiiiiinally got a nice browning on the outsides without it drying out. Also, as soon as I cranked the heat, I used the spatula to chop up the pieces even smaller. I'm not sure why - call it instinct - but I liked the results.

While the chicken was going, I sauteed half an onion and a red pepper, both chopped, in a small pan until soft.

And now, we layer.

Potatoes, then chicken, then peppers and onions. Then a nice, thick layer of feta.

(This is my $86.00 container of feta cheese. I went in for feta and came out with slightly more than that. I hate big box stores.)

Then the olives - thanks KLR for the suggestion

Add a few dollops of the tzatziki (plus more your plate to dip).

And not to leave you hanging about the whole musical furniture escapade:

adventure, blog, food, Reasons I love my life, and more:

several successes of a Saturday + story